Walk Softly and Carry a Big Computer Model
Unless you live there, you probably haven’t been following the brouhaha in North Dakota. So here’s the skinny: The U.S. EPA insists that the state is in violation of air quality standards because of the high concentration of sulfur dioxide in the air at the otherwise-pristine Theodore Roosevelt National Park and a national wildlife refuge. The state, meanwhile, conducted its own computer air quality models and says it is not in violation of the standards. The EPA was unconvinced, and used the same model but different data to prove its point. If the EPA maintains its position, some North Dakota power producers could be required to clean up their act, scrubbing sulfur from unscrubbed power plants. Moreover, the EPA has threatened to take over the state’s pollution program.